Re-evaluate what You Share - Lit Agent Tracked And Attacked

by JoAnne Kenrick
After news hit the twittersphere on Friday, about an agent getting attacked by a disgruntled and rejected author, I thought this was an appropriate blog to write.
Said rejected author tracked down the agent using a social network app and proceeded to go at her with a baseball ball after she 'publicly checked into a location'.
Read on for more details about the agent story.

A safety reminder.

As an author with digital first publishers, social networking is a major part of my job for promoting and connecting with readers, authors, agents, and editors. And I do sometimes forget that and post silly things like what I'm having for dinner or what type of homework the kids got. But never, ever, do I mention my children's name online, nor do I give out other personal information that might 'give me away'. With such a public profile, I never know who is watching. And that is always on my mind.

But not everyone is as internet safe as they should be. Sure, we all know the basics, right? Don't advertise your real name, birthdate, or actual city you reside in while social networking. The reason behind that is simple; identity theft and to avoid sex offenders tricking you then tracking you down. You don't really know the person behind that seemingly cool author who always retweets you, or sends you #ff you?

The online world is a playground for stalkers and creeps, and I've known many fellow authors who have been contacted and stalked via Facebook on several occasions. Us poor romance authors who write shall we say 'racy' stories, seem to be apt targets for such nutters. They think because we have sexy covers, or write about characters enjoying their sexual selfs, then we must be sex addicts and want to bump and grind with any old dirty harry. No so.

And this is where I believe authors could help themselves by not posting all those flirtatious status updates. When you have strangers following you, it's not harmless fun.  People do pay attention to that and gather 'intel' about you. That gives them the impression that you are 'up for it' and invites those creepy 'hi, wanna have online sex with me" msgs. How you 'dress' yourself online really does matter.

Here's the scary part. FOURSQUARE and other apps like it. I would have liked to have thought this sort of thing wouldn't be used by people with huge followers, who open themselves up as an author, editor, or agent etc... and have no clue who 70% of their online friends are in reality.

Foursquare is an app connected to your social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, and allows users to 'check in' to certain locations when they arrive. Here's where I am banging my head against the wall. WHY? Why would you do that? Why would you announce to the world that you just left home? Or that point, give strangers your real location in that exact moment. It seems nuts to me. But maybe the 'what if' girl in me sees what others don't. *shrugs*

Thought it was safe to post photographs of recent renovations in your home? WRONG! Hey, there are some determined, tech savy criminals out there now. They can use your home photos and the location of the city you reside in to figure out excatly where you live and map out the layout of your home. Sounds like a burglars dream come true. Even more so if you just checked into a movie several miles from home using FOURSQUARE.

At the end of the day, if you are using social networking sites as a place to reach out to the public, like myself, remember to keep some stuff private; where you live, what your real name is, or what your birthdate is. We don't want a repeat of what happened to an agent last week, do we? Basically, follow the same internet surfing advice given to children.

Yes, some rejected author figured they'd act out their anger by tracking down the agent--Pam van Hylckama Vlieg, an agent in San Francisco with Larsen Pomada who runs the website politely rejected them, and used FOURSQUARE to do it. Luckly, her little doggy saved the day and bit his arm. His manuscript submission had his actual address on it so the police were able to track him down...with a dog bitten arm to boot. So, although this story had a semi-happy ending, we should use it as pause for thought to re-evaluate the information we share on line.


Dracula's Kiss by JoAnne Kenrick is a paranormal 1Night Stand book with decadent publishing 's 1NS series and set in actual castle ruins which inspired Stoker  when writing DraculSo, my author friends, take good care of yourself and quit telling the world the day you were born, the city you live in, and pin pointing where you are in the world to all the crazy nut cases out there.

A little privacy goes a long way, so cherish it and keep it safe.

By JoAnne Kenrick [ ]
Bestselling author of romances, both contemporary and paranormal.
Grab Dracula’s Kiss this October; a Decadent Publishing 1NS story set in actual Scottish castle ruins that inspired Stoker when writing Dracula. A tasty treat not to be missed this Halloween! Available to purchase for just 2.99 at your favorite e-book stores.


  1. My sister's partner once used Foursquare to give his exact address. I went a little mad at him, not so much concerned for him but my two young nieces. He got my point and, luckily, no damage was done.

    I do advertise certain things about myself online but, then again, I also write into the local paper where a required field is your street name. Yes, you have to be careful and smart but not discussing something that's going on in your town because it'll reveal the area you live in might be going a bit too far. A little risk is part and parcel of modern life, whether you use the internet or not. In the case of people who use social networking as a way of interacting with potential clients then I realise you need much more caution and less risk.

  2. Thanks for stopping by and commenting Charmed Lassie :)

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who screams at friends and family after finding out they use use apps like foursquare. It's a scary world out there...and you just never know who is watching. Yes, I am totally aware that makes me sound a wee bit--well, a lot--paranoid. But like you say, more caution and less risk.

    I just hope this agent's experience sends up the red-alarm button and gets people off giving out all and sundry everything about themselves, where they live, and what color undies they are wearing and where they are right at this very minute. Blimey, serial killers and pedos must have a more enriched and interesting life these days. Remember the advice you give your children about using the internet, and follow them yourself :)

  3. Oh my gosh this is an awful story! I even refuse to use the location thingy on Facebook for the simple fact I don't really want anyone knowing how to find me. I have a family to protect.

    Great post JoAnne

    1. Quite rightly so...the agent was on the way to pick up her daughter. Could have turned very nasty and put her daughter at risk if he'd decided to strike a few minutes later. I get why folks who only have real friends on their facebook would share locations. I get that. But with folks who do add people who they no nothing about in reality, well, not a good idea to share where you live and where you are during various points of the day, week, month etc...
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      JoAnne just checked into the 'paranoid online safety club' and it looks like she's not alone!!

  4. I WAS tracked down once by an author wishing to give me a manuscript. Went to a social event in a large city with friends and I mentioned it online. The person approached me there. Basically a nice person, but my husband FREAKED OUT and I've never done it again!

    1. arghhh my hubs would have flipped, too. in a major way! Me too. LOL That is such an invasion of privacy, even though their intentions were good. It might have been nice of them to contact you via twitter or where ever you mentioned it first, if they could meet with you rather than just turning up. Would have been much less intrusive that way.

      Thanks for dropping by


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